What makes this area so special
The local village
We really recommend you visit Bishop’s Waltham. It’s a quintessentially English market town with an excellent range of shops and places to eat and drink. From the impressive ruins of the Bishop of Winchester’s Palace visited by royals, from Richard the Lionheart to Elizabeth l, to the remarkably well preserved medieval high street, the town is steeped in history.
There are two Co-ops and a really good Budgens along with a fantastic butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer in Bishop’s Waltham. However, if you need to do a larger shop, there’s a massive Sainsbury’s and M&S just a couple of miles away at Hedge End. Most of the larger supermarkets deliver to the house so you can order online in advance of your stay.
We love The Crown which is a great local pub, all low beams and cosy nooks, with a really good menu. Josie’s is fantastic for posh sandwiches with an all day breakfast with the best Eggs Benedict ever, but always busy so you may need to wait for a table.
Other local recommendations:
Friends Refined Indian Cuisine (this is absolutely fantastic curry - take away available).
The Cricketers Inn. This is our local village pub and very popular with our guests who have found them very happy to accommodate large groups. It’s signposted from the Botley Rd and around a 10 minute walk.
Regginas. Really good Italian food and Botley’s just a short drive.
The local area
For those old enough to remember Howard’s Way - high drama from the 80‘s (!!), it was largely filmed in Hamble and these two pubs were featured but are actually both great pubs in their own right in lovely spots with good menus, and The Jolly Sailor made it into the Telegraph’s best pubs in Britain book quite rightly.
The Hamble river is pretty spectacular and has a huge marina. The harbour wall’s a popular spot for crabbing and there’s a little pink ferry boat which can take you (and your dog) to Warsash on the other side of the river which is ideal for a gentle walk with lovely views.
The Jolly Sailor.
The Beach Hut Cafe.
An unspoiled cathedral city on the edge of the South Downs, Winchester is England’s ancient capital and former seat of King Alfred the Great. Winchester is most well known for its stunning 11th century cathedral and the Great Hall, which for over 700 hundred years has housed the mysterious Round Table. Winchester has a great range of shops and restaurants and we’d highly recommend it for a day or evening out. We like The Vine, opposite the cathedral, and the Chesil Rectory, and they’re both in beautiful historic buildings. It’s really easy to get the train form Botley if you’d prefer not to drive. Just outside the city to the south, there’s the Science Centre which has the most fantastic planetarium and this is a great choice for rainy days whatever age your children (and you!) are. We’ve visited Jane Austin’s house in Chawton a few times; it’s a sweet museum and they’ve preserved her house as it would have been and you can really get a sense of her life. Portsmouth is also a great place to visit. We’ve done the Spinnaker Tower and the Royal Artillery Museum but there’s so much more to do there. The Mary Rose has recently reopened after a huge restoration project too. Gunwharf Quay is a good retail outlet mall too so good for lunch and shops if you’re doing the museums and ships. Of course the New Forest is wonderful and the car museum in Beaulieu is a must for any motor enthusiast. Closer still, Wickham is a very pretty village with the second oldest square in England. Chesapeake Mill is a fabulous place to visit and a bit of a treasure trove for antiques and collectables.
Beach wise, we love Hayling Island. The dog friendly beach is right at the end of Sea Front and offers a lovely wide sandy beach with really clean clear water. You’ll find lots of people swimming but there&rs